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Teresonic Clarison Gold Interconnects Review

Jack Roberts recalls the sound of heavy metal in listening

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Teresonic Clarison Gold interconnects

Design Goals

On their website, Teresonic says the reason they make cable is because they wanted a cable that would sound natural. They set out to design a cable that would have natural midrange warmth and be very articulate at the same time. They wanted a cable that would have great detail but did not sound spotlighted. They also wanted a cable that would allow the lower octaves to suddenly appear, as well as a cable capable of a very realistic soundstage.

In my review of Teresonic’s original Clarison cable, I was really impressed by how well they met their design goals and how well they succeeded in designing their cable to be impervious to acoustical, electrical, and magnetic interference. Now we come to Teresonic’s attempt to build the world’s best cable at any price. Their website states that, for “audiophiles who want the ultimate combination of musicality, harmonic accuracy, tonal neutrality, and dynamics there is now CLARISON Gold with signal conductors made of pure (99.999%) 24 carat gold!”

Mike told me they just wanted to make the best cable they could for themselves. Knowing Mike, I think they wanted to see if they could make a cable that cost a few thousand dollars that was as good or better than those that are selling in the tens of thousands of dollars price range.

Technical Description:

Teresonic uses a high-tech protective elastic ferromagnetic spiral shield made of carbonized steel with a thin PVC insulating cover. There are two identical inside interconnect blocks with (+) and (-) pure solid gold conductors. The inside dielectric is “air” with a special insulating screen to separate (+) and (-) conductors. The inside interconnect block is comprised of solid pure (99.999%) Gold wire in a special cotton impregnated insulation tube.

Connectors are 24 carat gold plated RCA type Nextgen WBT 0110. Ultra fine machined symmetrical connectors are especially suitable for pure symmetry of CLARISON cables avoiding all the pitfalls of the coaxial geometry.

Listening To The Gold!

In Teresonic’s stated reasons for producing the Clarison Gold Interconnects, they are surely striving for the ultimate. So, the question is, did they achieve their goal? First of all, I wouldn’t be able to tell you if the Gold qualifies as the best cable there is, because I haven’t even come close to hearing all the cables on the market. I have had some nice cables that I have owned, and a few have come through here in the last few years. The following cables are what I feel I have spent enough time with to comfortable say I know their sound: Acoustic Zen, Analysis Plus, Audience au24, Audio Note SOGON, Cardas, Harmonic Technologies, Kondo Silver cables, Nordost Valhalla, and Shindo’s Silver cables.

The one thing I can tell you is that the Teresonic Clarison Gold cables do something quantitatively different than any of these other cables. That difference is not hard to describe or hear, but it’s not a difference I am use to hearing from cables. It’s more like the improvements in sound I’m use to hearing from a better amp, particularly a really good SET. Well, let’s get on with describing their sound.

First, like there copper cousins they have a very natural and relaxed midrange while at the same time being very articulate. When I reviewed Teresonic’s copper cables, I thought they had beautiful detail without sounding spotlighted or edgy. Living with them day in and day out has reinforced this opinion. The Golds take this to a whole new level, though. It’s not that they let you hear things you never heard before or other similarly over used audio jargon. No, several of the cables on the list let you hear as much detail, but none let you hear it as effortlessly.

They have the most beautiful top-end and midrange detail I have ever heard. As I said, it’s the kind of difference I would hear from a new amp or maybe a new moving-coil cartridge. It’s not just treble detail that’s conveyed with less effort and more beauty though. The lower midrange and bass detail may be even more surprising. Their copper cables are amazing in the way of the bass. You have to hear the Golds: The bass snaps into place, you can pick out one acoustic bass from the other, the power and drive you hear from a drum kit and all is more the kind of difference in sound I would expect if I had gone from my 8-watt 300Bs to an amp of 30 to 50 watts of power.

For example’s sake, let’s just use a few acoustic string instruments to talk about their sound for a minute. I’ll start with the lowly ukulele. (ukulele: a small guitar of Portuguese origin popularized in Hawaii in the 1880s and strung typically with four strings. Source: Wikipedia. –Editor) I listen to several wonderful Bluegrass albums, they just plain sounded prettier, it was easier to hear the sound of the strings and the instrument. It let the warmth of the little instrument come though, the zing of the strings, and the sound of the fingering. When going back to the copper I could hear all this, but not as beautifully, or as effortlessly. To put another way with the Gold, it was more like being right there.

The violin is another small string instrument, but indeed very different from the ukulele. The strengths of the Gold cable are a little more obvious on the violin. Everything I said about the ukulele is true of the violin, but more so. With violin music, the Gold lets the violin sound sweeter. In trios or quartets, it is easier to hear each instrument. The air that is moved by mass violins is one of the things that seems to allow an orchestra to float before us, and this happens with less effort with the Gold.

Moving on to the guitar, I listened to Chet Akins, the Opus 3 guitar album, with John Williams, Montgomery, and the Romeros. It is with the guitar that you begin to really hear what the Teresonic Gold can do that I have never heard from a cable before. It’s as if you power amp just got more powerful. The solidity and power of the plucked strings is just intoxicating. On the Opus 3 recording there are four guitars sitting in a semicircle and playing. For most of the time, this wonderful recording sounds more like three guitars than four. With the Teresonic Gold replacing the copper version, it is easier to hear each of the four instruments in their own space than I have ever encountered before. This isn’t just a matter of producing a great soundstage, which of course the cable does. It’s a matter of easily hearing the different tones of each guitar, and the different playing technique of each musician.

I could go on and on about different guitar recordings but in every case, the Gold cable was just more enjoyable to listen to, it lets the music flow better, sometimes more powerfully, sometimes more delicately, but always more like real music. Now don’t get me wrong, I still feel the original Teresonic Clarison cables are the best I have heard in my system until the Gold.

Now, let’s skip to the standup bass. This is the instrument that allows you to hear all the ways this cable lets the musical experience seem more real in your listening room. Again, it’s the kind of difference I expect from a different power amp. It reminds me of the kind of bass I got from the 30 watts per channel deHavilland Aries 845-G, yet I still get the glorious sound of the 8-watt Wavac EC 300B. The attack of the strings, the fret work is all so quick, clear, and most of all, realistic. At the same time, there is a sense of power and solidity from the instrument that just breaks through into the room. This combination of the Clearaudio turntable system, EMT cartridge, Shindo preamp, Wavac power amp, and this Golden cable gives me bass that I never dreamed of from a single-driver speaker, or a 300B SET amp, even the EC 300B.

With the original Clarion cable, Teresonic said that they were looking for a cable that would allow the lower octaves to suddenly appear. In my review of that cable I said:

“I guess by this they meant natural dynamics and slam. Here some comparisons may help. I have found Nordost Valhalla and Virtual Dynamic’s cable both are great when you need to tighten up the bass of a system, but I felt that Audience au24 and the Auditorium 23 cables let you hear much more of the air and decay of bass instruments. Well, again the Clarison cables let you have your cake and eat it too, since they combined both of these qualities without sacrificing the other’s strengths.” The Teresonic Gold does exactly the same thing, but somehow does it with less effort, and with more beauty.

About the original copper Clarion cable, I said, “both the Nordost Valhalla and the Virtual Dynamic cables will give you a little more width and depth. On the other hand, the Clarison cables give you a more cohesive soundstage and let you hear much more of the air and size of the recording venue.” Well, the Golds give you a more extended top-end and the result is a more expansive soundstage – in fact, the best soundstage I have ever experienced in my room. Now, remember I don’t have my room or system setup for the kind of soundstage that floats behind the speakers. So I can’t tell you they are the best at what some mean by soundstaging, but if you want a coherent, three-dimensional representation of a live event that does not distract you from the performance, then this is it.

I concluded the Clarison review by saying, “If I had to sum up the Clarison cables in one word, it would be SOLIDITY. I would say they allow my system to sound more solid and fundamentally more correct than I had heard it before. If that doesn’t translate for you, think about how much more solid live music sounds when you hear it close-up in a good acoustical environment. My system had more of that solidity with the Clarison cables in the system than with any other wire I have used. Not only are they solid-sounding, they are also very transparent. Add to this the fact that I also find the Clarison cables to be really open sounding and very dynamic from top to bottom, and you have a cable that helps my system to meet most of my desires for an audio system.”

Well, you lose none of the above with the Teresonic Gold cables, but you get this solidity with more power and more delicacies all at the same time. These cables have been a beautiful finishing touch on my system, and that’s exactly what I would suggest them to you for. The copper Clarison cables are the second best cables I know of, so when you get everything else right, then there’s the Gold.

Long Term Listening Opinion

I always enjoy reading car magazines when they keep a car for a while, take it on a road trip, and use it for an everyday driver. Then they come back and tell you how it was to live with the car. Well, I’ve lived with Teresonic cables for a while now and the Golds have been in my system for over two months. I want you to know that they are just getting better and better. I appreciate them more now than I did after the first couple of weeks. These cables do something very special for music, in the same way that Shindo preamps and the Wavac EC300B do. They let a musical line flow like real music, they are simply more organic than any other cables I have heard, and music just plain sounds more beautiful and more emotional than with other cables.

Let me put it another way, they have the organic sound and beauty of the SOGON and Shindo silver cables, they have the frequency extremes of the Nordost Valhalla, and the tonal balance and relaxed realism of the Audience cables. Still the Teresonic Clarison Cables are a big step up from any of these cables, or any I have heard, in letting your system sound more like real music.

Let me see if I can summarize the improvements the Gold cable bring to the table over the copper Clarisons in five words; first body, second effortlessness, third ultimate transparency, forth dynamic, and fifth very beautiful.

One Last Question, Why?

This is the question I put to Teresonic team, and the answer I got was amazingly honest. Mike Zivkovic of Teresonic said,

“As you know we believe in true science and engineering in our products and don’t believe in ‘magic’. Every feature and characteristic of our products we are able to explain (more or less) in scientific/engineering terms, but with the Gold we are out of our knowledge. Silver and copper are better conductors but gold sounds better and the only scientific explanation is probably in differences in the crystal structure. Is that electron in the most outer orbit making the difference? Is it possible that avoiding soldering can make such a difference? Is gold’s resistance to corrosion making difference (so soon, even with new products)? We can’t say but the results are just divine.”

Conclusion

I’ve said all I know about the sound so I want to close with a list of things I like about these cables as well as their sound.

They are flexible, enough said.
They are well shielded. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have had trouble with all kind of interference coming into my system, things that sound like servers, faxes, or other nonmusical sounds. With both the Clarison Copper and Gold cables I have none of that interference. I think that is especially wonderful and surprising. It has been my experience that unshielded cables sound better than shielded ones, but not in the case of these cables.
The new 24-carat gold plated RCA type Nextgen WBT 0110 connectors are ultra fine machined symmetrical connectors that are especially suitable for the pure symmetry of the CLARISON cables. They also avoided all the pitfalls of the coaxial geometry. Well, all that is nice, but what I like about them is they go on and off jacks easier than the older ones, they fit very tight, and they stay on when you move the equipment around.
I am so glad they cost only $3,000 for a meter and not five to seven times that amount. I think when you listen to them, and look at their construction you will wonder why they aren’t the most expensive cable on the market. Lastly, I don’t care how much you can afford to spend on interconnects, don’t buy anything without at least hearing these.

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